When working with electricity, finding a certain wire might be difficult.

This is particularly true if you are unfamiliar with electrical wiring.

Finding the appropriate wire for everything from home wiring to a vehicle radio may be difficult.

In this post, we’ll concentrate on the latter, which is your automobile audio.

You will be able to discover your radio’s ignition wire after reading this guide.

In the process of learning how to locate the ignition wire, you’ll also discover what some of the other wires are for.

Continue reading to discover how to identify the ignition wire for your audio in your car.


The first step is to identify your car’s radio ignition wire by looking at a wiring diagram.

However, it’s critical to get the precise make, model, and year diagram since some manufacturers alter minor details like wiring from year to year.

If you can find a wiring diagram, all you have to do now is look at it and read it.

Then compare what you see in the photo to what you see in the automobile.

That’s all there is to it.

Finding a diagram, on the other hand, may not be that simple.

Even with the internet, finding information and graphics may be difficult.

This is particularly true if your car is older.

It is not possible to access all schematics.

Related: 10 Best RV Stereos of 2024

How Do I Locate Stereo Ignition Wire?

Another thing to keep in mind when utilizing a diagram to find the ignition wire to your radio is that schematics only work with factory-fresh vehicles.

What if you purchased the automobile from someone who has altered the radio? You may look for a schematic for the new stereo installed in the car, but this isn’t always feasible.

Fortunately, even if you don’t have a schematic, you can find the ignition wire in a car.

It’s really rather easy to accomplish.

Because of all the numerous cables coming out of the stereo, it may seem complex at first, but after reading this instructions, you should be able to do it yourself at home.

Related: How To Install A Car Stereo?

How To Read Wiring Diagrams (Schematics) Automotive – Handy Man

You’ll Need Certain Tools.

There aren’t many instruments required to test the various cables coming from your system.

All you’ll need is a multimeter or a test bulb to get started.

A multimeter is preferable than a test light, but if you just have a test lamp, you may use it.

If you’re looking for the Best Automotive Multimeters, go to the Autofthing website, where it lists the top 5.

The first step is to remove the radio from the enclosure so that you can access the cables at the rear.

This should be plain sense, but it isn’t for some people.

The next step is to locate a decent ground for the multimeter and attach it to the clamp.

After that, it’s time to begin testing the cables.

Related: How to Wire Car Speakers to the Radio Without the Harness?

How to Examine Wires

Most radios will have a slew of wires protruding from them, which you should already be aware of since the stereo should be turned up to the point where you can see the cables.

They’re all various hues, and the colors can usually assist you figure out what they are.

However, this isn’t always the case, particularly if you’re working on a car that has an aftermarket radio installed.

The ground wire is usually the black cable coming from the radio.

The continuous power cable is the yellow wire coming from the radio.

A red wire, which is usually the ignition wire, is also present.

However, we must test the wires to ensure that this is the case.

You may also need to test since there may be two red wires, one for the ignition and the other for the dimmer.

Even when the automobile is turned off, stereos in cars usually maintain continual power.

That’s how it remembers the settings, and some of them will show the time.

With the vehicle off, take the multimeter and tap each wire that is not grounded with the probe to discover the consistent power wire.

The steady power is the one that reads 12 volts when the automobile is turned off.

You can identify it with tape, particularly if it isn’t the yellow one.

You’ll need to try a couple of additional wires to identify the ignition wire.

Start the vehicle and make sure the headlights and dimmer are turned all the way up to find it.

With the probe, check to determine whether both potential other wires are reading 12 volts or above.

Then turn the dimmer down to observe which one has changed.

The dimmer wire, if your stereo has one, and the ignition wire are the ones where the reading changed.

So you don’t lose them, label them.

Once you’ve figured out where the ignition wire, ground wire, continuous power wire, and dimmer wire are, you can figure out where the rest of the wires go.

They usually come in a variety of colors, such as green and black.

If the red wires aren’t power lines, you’ll need to examine the others until you find ones that have 12-volt readings.

Related: How To Wire a Car Stereo From Scratch?

How to Test Continuity on Wires and Electrical Parts – Sears PartsDirect


It’s actually that easy to locate the ignition wire on your audio.

There are two ways to locate it.

One option is to look for a wiring schematic for the automobile and match the wires up.

It’s important to note, however, that the diagram’s year, make, and model must match the automobile perfectly, or else it won’t work.

The second option is to test the wires using a multimeter.

Finding the ignition wire using a multimeter is simple, and it may be faster than looking for a schematic.

It’s also the only approach that guarantees compatibility with an aftermarket stereo.

One other thing to keep in mind is that wires are usually color-coded, with the red wire serving as the ignition wire.

However, this isn’t always the case, which is why it’s a good idea to test the wires.

Fortunately, you now know how to identify your radio ignition wire after reading this article.

How To Find Ignition Wire For Stereo? Videos Suggestions From Youtube

How to find 12V ignition switch/wire for car radio – Carpar Automotive
Car Stereo Wiring Explained In Detail – Lessco Electronics
Ignition & Accessory wire – 12 Volt Neutron

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Written by Bob Matsuoka
Bob Matsuoka is a blogger and founder of RVing Beginner blog. He has been blogging for over five years, writing about his own family’s RV adventures, tips for people who are interested in buying an RV or taking their family on an adventure by RV.